The Paradoxical Invocation of Humanity
This week, Republican Congressman Terry Franks invoked humanist philosophy to simultaneously defend pro-life (anti-abortion) and question President Obama’s humanity and citizenship. It would be laughable logic if this trend were not so prevalent and effective. Franks called Obama an “enemy of humanity” referring to Obama’s decision to support international aid to organizations that perform abortions. This invocation of humanist arguments in every abortion debate is particularly interesting when it is juxtaposed against almost uniform rejection by Republicans of public insurance options and sex education in schools. Franks in particular accuses Obama of not treating unborn babies as humans and therefore is himself less than human. In the same breath that he attempts to color Obama as an inhumane monster, Franks also questions Obama’s citizenship status. Is he making a connection between humanity and American citizenship? Is it only “human” to protect unborn babies while supporting efforts to exclude thousands of children and pregnant women from access to healthcare? Though politically problematic, the most distressing aspect of these kinds of accusations stem from the slippery links made between and among such issues. Further, rather than engaging in political dialogue and debate regarding these issues, Franks (like many other politicians) critique not the positions and arguments but rather the very humanity of the person with whom he disagrees.
CNN article on Terry Franks
I think Sen. Kyl from Arizona takes the cake on not caring for the unborn, calling for the new health care policy to exclude maternity care. And I just checked–he is a republican.
Your points about humanity and citizenship matter because the reframing of Obama makes him a safer (and perhaps larger) target. In the end, I am curious which form of humanity will become normative.
Although I agree that the protection of unborn life is important, I must say that quality of life for that child once born must be factored in.
In a very loose way, you can associate abortion with population control. It might seem inhumane, but I would have to raise the point additional people equals an additional pull on available resources.
Without abortion, the american population could be every different. You can extrapolate this in a very extreme way to China’s One Child Policy. It’s our “unofficial” population control policy.
Paradox, don’t you think? Contradiction could have never been so obvious. Obama supports the right approach which is naturally-subjected to circumstances. He’s not going around, jeering people to kill unborn babies since ‘it’s the right thing to do’. It’s a very complicated stance to take. Pro-choice does not imply we’re inhumane, reckless monsters out to kill little babies. It means we actually pay a damn to whatever consequences surround the birth of the child, the health of the mother, the way it was brought here, etc.
My God. Republicans will always contradict themselves. It’s almost funny.
I don’t think we should take the things Republican’s have been saying about humanity as comments on humanism. I think that, for the most part, republicans are grasping at straws trying to find the sorts of key words that will get people fired up. It has become the only thing they know how to do.
“…rather than engaging in political dialogue and debate regarding these issues, Franks (like many other politicians) critique not the positions and arguments but rather the very humanity of the person with whom he disagrees.”
One of my biggest pet peeves.
How do you position comments from Pelosi and Grayson where fellow humans and americans are called Nazi Skin heads and desiring sick people to die?
As for abortion, i think that both a lady and a man should think first if they want a baby (and think by heads, not by something else!) they are responsible for that child. i am against of abortion but i am also against of people who give a birth to a child but understand that they do not want to have it and they can not give him a nice future.